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spicy caramel chicken

Spicy Caramel Chicken

4.43 from 14 votes
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Protein: Poultry
Cut: Chicken Thighs
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


For the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the caramel sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

To assemble:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 jalapeños cut into 1/4-inch rounds


For the marinade

  • Whisk together the sugar, fish sauce, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes.

For the caramel sauce

  • Whisk together the fish sauce, water, sugar, and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.

To assemble

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the chicken on both sides until browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  • Add the remaining olive oil and the garlic to the pan, and sauté until aromatic, less than 1 minute. Add the caramel sauce to the pan and mix it with the garlic. Reduce the heat to medium-low until the sauce is just simmering and add the chicken back into the pan. Keep cooking as the sauce reduces and becomes syrupy, about 4-6 minutes, turning the chicken every minute or so. Once the caramel has thickened and is dark amber, add the jalapeños and cook for 1 minute more, turning the jalapeños over halfway through.
  • Serve immediately with rice.
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